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The library, located in King City Park, attracts young and old alike, listed on the national map of Little Free Libraries.

PMG PHOTO: SCOTT KEITH - Children flock to grab a book from the Little Free Library in  King City Community Park. The libary has been open since 2019.Even in the midst of a pandemic, the Little Free Library, located at King City Community Park, is a hit with residents of King City.

The Little Free Library, which was unveiled Aug. 3, 2019, is a partnership between the King City Community Foundation and the city of King City.

The Little Free Library is a national organization that allows free book exchanges in neighborhoods throughout the United States. Over 90,000 of these public book libraries are registered with the organization.

The idea behind the Little Free Library is to promote reading among young citizens.

"Our Little Free Library is listed on the national map of Little Free Library," Jaimie Fender, city councilor, said.

As the effort was launched in King City, the foundation and employees of the city donated the first cycle of books.

"We filled the entire little library up," Fender recalled. "Very quickly the library circulated books and I would say, within one week, all the books that had been there were exchanged out and it was all new books."

These days the Foundation checks on the library at least once a week," Fender pointed out. "We, candidly, expected to have a little bit of vandalism at some point, but we have not had any vandalism to the Little Free Library, which has been great."

Over the months, however, people have been known to include promotional items in the library slot. These were removed.

"For the most part, everyone has really adhered to the policy of take one and leave one," she said. "That's kind of the unspoken rule of the library. You take a book and leave a book."

During COVID, Fender has noticed an interesting variation in the reading habits of King City residents.

"We've noticed it goes in cycles," Fender said. "It kind of started out as mostly children's books. Then what has been fascinating is, throughout the pandemic, it switched over to really good adult books."

Fender continued, "I've been really fascinated just watching the kind of cycle of what people are interested in reading. For a long time, John Grisham-Tom Clancy kind of books came through. Right now, it's probably about 60-40. There's about 60% adult books in there, then 40% kids' books."

When the Little Free Library first opened, patrons noticed picture books that seemed to cater to toddlers and young kids.

"Over time, what I have really come to love about our library is we have a lot of young adult books and elementary age books," Fender said. "We've seen a lot of elementary kids take a book, go sit in the park, have a snack on the bench or table, read and put the book back."

Fender also noticed that during the pandemic, and when economic times were especially difficult for many citizens, the little library took an unexpected turn.

"One thing we noticed is a lot of people would put food items in the Little Free Library," Fender said. "There was kind of a home-grown food pantry for probably about a month. That kind of seemed to subside. That was also nice just to see neighbors thinking about each other."

For some older citizens curious about checking out The Little Library, Fender has some advice.

"I don't think a lot of people know this in traditional King City," Fender said. "But now that the city took back ownership of 131st, King City residents can cross 131st in their golf carts and drive through the Roseberry and Edgewater neighborhoods to get down to the park."

Fender continued, "It is important that they know they cannot drive their golf carts down Fischer Road, but they can get to the King City Community Park by crossing 131st, which they are allowed to do in their golf carts. There are a number of areas where they can park their golf carts at the park."

Fender said, with a smile, "I was thinking about creating a little map so that we could show people how they could get down there."


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